Bahman 5 1401 - January 25 2023
An important note to visitors and contributors

It has been a pleasure to serve you since 1995. This has been a wonderful and rewarding journey. We started to be a reliable source of information on Iran. During the last 25+ years we have learned so much...But it is now time for us to move on and let others continue the journey... 12/31/21

A Century of Cello Music from Persia 1921-2021

Compiled by Pejman Akbarzadeh, these compositions have mostly been collected and restored from the private archives in Tehran, Paris, and Montreal. "A delay in working on this anthology could mean losing the first Persian cello pieces", Akbarzadehd told BBC. 12/31/21

Book: Necessary Illusions

We use the toolbox of the mind to uncover the secrets of existence, the meaning of life, and our purpose and place in the universe. What tool do we have to investigate the nature of the mind; surely not the mind itself. Can the mind be its own witness to testify for its legitimacy? What judge would consider such testimony convincing enough to vindicate the claimant? - Kambiz Zarrabi 12/31/21

"This Pale" - Rumi set to music: A celebration of the complexity of love

This Pale is one of those wonderful collaborative efforts that have come about because of adversity. Iranian American vocalist Katayoun Goudarzi and Grammy nominated classical Indian composer and sitarist Shujaat Husain Khan have joined forces with Iranian ney player Shaho Andalibi and tabla player Shariq Mustafa in the creation of this album. -Qantara 12/31/21

Iran's EB kids innocent victims of Swedish company's compliance with US sanctions

Iranian EB children are suffering from a rare skin condition that can only be relieved by using a Swedish company's bandages. The Swedish company Molnlycke has halted shipments to Iran in compliance with the US sanctions against the country although the UN's international court of Justices had announced that humanitarian goods are exempt from sanctions. -Press TV 12/31/21

Will Iran be able to normalize ties with the West in 2022?

Even though both Iran and the US seem interested in reviving the nuclear deal, deep distrust and decades-long animosity mean both sides are unlikely to normalize their relationship in the near future, say experts. -DW 12/31/21

Iran says nuclear talks in Vienna are seeing 'satisfactory' progress

Ongoing talks in Vienna to revive a 2015 nuclear deal between world powers and Iran have seen "relatively satisfactory progress," Iran's negotiator Ali Bagheri said Thursday. "Some written changes on the lifting of sanctions were established between the two parties and relatively satisfactory progress has been made over the first days of the eighth round of negotiations," Bagheri said in a video published by Tasnim news agency. -Times of Israel 12/31/21

Photos: Iranian orchestra perform Mozart's Requiem in memory of artist victims of COVID-19

An Iranian orchestra performed Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Requiem on Wednesday night, December 22, at Tehran's Vahdat Hall to commemorate the artists who have succumbed to COVID-19 in the country. -Honar Online 12/31/21

Esteghlal, Persepolis in AFC waiting room

The issue of removing Esteghlal and Persepolis from the AFC Champions League by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) is a hot topic in Iranian football these days. The Iranian popular teams now wait for AFC's decision on their future. The two popular Iranian clubs are on the verge of being banned from the 2022/23 ACL due to non-compliance of their obligations to the AFC's club licensing rules. -Tehran Times 12/31/21

Iran's Soccer Federation Supports National Star Over Israeli Flag Criticism

Iran's soccer association chief has backed former national team captain Mehdi Mahdavikia after he faced criticism from ultraconservatives for wearing a jersey bearing an Israeli flag during a friendly game coached by an Israeli. "He is one of the greats of Iranian football" and "a symbol of pride for the Islamic Republic of Iran," Secretary-General Hassan Kamranifar said in a statement published by the official state news agency IRNA on December 29. -RFE 12/31/21

Israel Is Trying to Push War With Iran - and the US Press Barely Cares

Top Israeli officials, now on an official visit to Washington, are pushing for US military action against Iran. It's a dangerous provocation that should be mainstream news. Look it up and you'll find next to no coverage in the US media about top Israeli officials visiting Washington this week to push for military strikes against Iran, raising the risk of sparking war. Yet that's exactly what happened. -Branko Marcetic, Jacobin 12/30/21

Iran launches research satellite, testing Western powers amid talks on nuclear deal

Iran announced Thursday it had carried out a new space launch, in a move likely to irk Western powers amid tough talks on reviving a 2015 nuclear deal. "The Simorgh satellite launcher carried three research cargos into space," defence ministry spokesman Ahmad Hosseini said, quoted by state television. -AFP 12/30/21

The Looming Threat of a Nuclear Crisis with Iran

The Biden Administration faces a potential confrontation with a longtime rival that is better armed and more hard-line than at any time in its modern history. -Robin Wright, New Yorker 12/30/21

Photos: Iran successfully launches Simorgh satellite carrier into space

A spokesperson for the Defense Ministry, Ahmad Hosseini, said on Thursday that Iran has successfully launched the Simorgh satellite carrier, bearing three research devices into space. Hosseini said hat Simorgh satellite carrier and the three research devices were sent up 470 kilometers (290 miles) with a speed of 7350 m/s. -IRNA 12/30/21

Biden's first year in foreign policy was a master class in continuity

To be successful in 2022, he needs to take more risks, and think less about political backlash from hawks and the Blob. The Biden administration's foreign policy in its first year was mostly defined by an unwillingness to make major policy changes and to take significant political risks to follow through on the president's campaign pledges. -Daniel Larison, Responsible Statecraft 12/30/21

Iran bans travelers from four European countries

Iran's national airline banned today travelers coming to Iran via four European countries (to mitigate the spread of the omicron variant of COVID-19). IranAir said it will not receive non-Iranian citizen passengers coming from the United Kingdom, France, Norway and Denmark. -Al Monitor 12/30/21

Analysis: As US focus wanes, Mideast turns inward for talks

After years of looking abroad for answers, countries in the Middle East now appear to instead be talking to each other to find solutions following two decades defined by war and political upheaval. The American withdrawals from Afghanistan and Iraq have played a part in that change. -AP 12/30/21

Iran-US: faltering nuclear talks enter dangerous phase

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei bided his time before publicly offering his seal of approval to the 2015 nuclear accord Tehran signed with world powers. But as moderate Iranian politicians and their supporters celebrated, hoping the deal would usher in a new era for the pariah state, the supreme leader made clear his mistrust of the US, the other prime actor behind the agreement. -Financial Times 12/29/21

Iran wants a sustainable nuclear deal. Only the lifting of US sanctions can achieve this

Thanks to Trump's ill-advised maximum-pressure strategy, Iran is close to being a nuclear-weapon threshold state. This is easily reversed - but only if Iran feels it can trust the West. The only way out of this crisis is for the US to lift the economic sanctions with which it has been strangling Iran and thereby ensure the sustainability of the deal. If it does, Iran, for its part, will fully implement its commitments under the JCPOA permanently. -Seyed Hossein Mousavian, MEE 12/29/21

Sanandaj picked as Iran's 2022 Book Capital

Sanandaj, the capital of Kordestan Province, has been named Iran's 2022 Book Capital on Monday. The city also achieved the title for launching different campaigns for the book reading, use of cultural potentials and innovative ideas for promoting book reading, and great endeavors for the development of bookstores. -Tehran Times 12/29/21

U.S. Sounds Caution Against Optimism by Iran, Russia Over Nuclear Talks

The United States on Tuesday expressed caution over upbeat comments by Iran and Russia about talks in Vienna to salvage the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, saying it was still too soon to say if Tehran had returned to the negotiations with a constructive approach. Iran and Russia both gave upbeat views on Tuesday about talks that kicked off this week to salvage Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with global powers, although Western nations have said the negotiations are going too slowly. -Reuters 12/29/21

Out of sight, out of mind: Afghanistan vanishes from US news

New data shows stunning plunge in coverage, just as the humanitarian crisis - much of it caused by Washington sanctions - peaks. Despite unprecedented levels of hunger and starvation for which U.S. sanctions bear important responsibility, Afghanistan has once again virtually disappeared from the most important single source of world news for most Americans. -Jim Lobe, Responsible Statecraft 12/29/21

Iranians seek foreign shores as reform hopes fade

Unlike many Iranians, Maryam never dreamt of emigrating to a western state. She believed her home country could deliver a bright future for her 10-year-old son. But this year her two-decade-old industrial import business nearly collapsed because of the long-running effect of sanctions imposed by the US. The election in June of hardliner Ebrahim Raisi after moderate candidates were disqualified dealt a blow to her hopes that the situation would improve. -Najmeh Bozorgmehr, Irish Times 12/29/21

Israeli Military Presents Iran Strike Scenarios, but Can't Say What They'll Achieve

The Israeli military has presented the country's political leadership with several possible scenarios for striking targets in Iran, but emphasized that it would be difficult to determine the outcome of such strikes or assess how it would affect Tehran's nuclear program. The military says that as part of its preparations in past months for a possible attack on Iran, it has been acquiring advanced weapons, conducting air force training exercises and collecting new strike targets for Military Intelligence's target bank. -Yaniv Kubovich, Haaretz 12/29/21

Tehran Terror: When 'Big One' Strikes, Watch Out For Giant Rats!

Simply put, thousands are expected to die if there were a major earthquake in Tehran. That's the background for a rather particular article Tuesday from reformist daily Aftab-e Yazd, which wrote that the consequences of a major quake might well include people left amid the rubble of their shoddy houses being eaten to death by giant rats. -World Crunch 12/29/21

Iran orders crypto-mining ban to prevent winter blackouts

Iran for the second time this year ordered a shutdown of authorized cryptocurrency mining centers as part of efforts to ease the strain on the country's power plants and avoid blackouts, according to Mostafa Rajabi Mashhadi, director of the state-run Iran Grid Management Co. and a spokesman for Iran's power industry. -Bloomberg 12/29/21

Delegates at new round of Iran nuclear talks strike hopeful note

The eighth and possibly final round of talks in Vienna to restore Iran's landmark 2015 nuclear deal with world powers has commenced on a cautiously hopeful note. A Joint Commission meeting of the remaining participants of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the nuclear deal is formally known, concluded on Monday night in the Austrian capital, with a slew of bilateral and trilateral meetings between the different delegations. -Al Jazeera 12/28/21

Ignorance and mistrust have put the U.S. and Iran on a collision course

Since 1979, we've been told that the enmity that persists between the United States and Iran is based in mistrust. But that's not the whole story. It's about a shared ignorance of the other, a lack of self-awareness about that self-inflicted ignorance, and the mutual hubris in Tehran and Washington that these blind spots have long incubated. -Jason Rezaian, Washington Post 12/28/21

Iran coach Irandoost looks for AFC Women's Asian Cup knockout stage

Iran's women's football team head coach Maryam Irandoost says that they want to book a place at the 2022 AFC Women's Asian Cup knockout stage. Iran are in Group A along with India, China and Chinese Taipei. -Tehran Times 12/28/21

Photos: A place between autumn, winter

Due to the geographical location of Mazandaran, this province extends to the Caspian Sea and the Alborz Mountain Range, and as a result, Mazandaran boasts spectacular scenery in all seasons. These photographs show the forests of Mazandaran in different areas of the province during the fall. -Mostafa Kazemi, ISNA 12/28/21

Time to look inward: Not all of Iran's problems are caused by the West

To this author's mind, ideology continues to distort Tehran's foreign - and domestic - policies. In the last two decades, Iran's economic, social, and political conditions have steadily deteriorated. A brief period of recovery occurred after the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2015 and the partial lifting of U.S. economic sanctions as a result. -Shireen Hunter, Responsible Statecraft 12/28/21

Iran nuclear talks resume with Tehran focused on relief from sanctions

Indirect talks between Iran and the United States on salvaging the 2015 Iran nuclear deal resumed on Monday with Tehran focused on one side of the original bargain, lifting sanctions against it, despite scant progress on reining in its atomic activities. 12/28/21

French tourist imprisoned in Iran since 2020 begins hunger strike

Benjamin Briere, a French tourist jailed in Iran on spying charges since spring 2020, has begun a hunger strike, his lawyer and sister said in a statement on Monday. ADVERTISING French authorities remain in close contact with Briere, visiting him on Dec. 21 and contacting him on Monday, a French foreign ministry spokesperson said. -France 24 12/28/21

Photos: Christians in Isfahan, Iran celebrate Christmas

Christians in Jolfa neighborhood in Esfahan city, central Iran celebrate Christmas and New Year's Eve in the Vank Cathedral, formally known as the Holy Savior Cathedral, and the vicinity. Other Esfahani citizens also join Christians, taking photos with the Christmas tree and Santa Claus. -Zahra Baghban, IRNA 12/27/21

Iran says Vienna nuclear talks to restart around joint document

The eighth round of Iran nuclear talks will start on Monday in Vienna based on a new joint document that incorporates key Iranian demands such as guarantees and verification on the lifting of sanctions, Iran's foreign minister has said. Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian told reporters in the capital Tehran on Monday that an "acceptable" joint text has been agreed which includes talking points on sanctions and nuclear issues. -Al Jazeera 12/27/21

Persian poet Rudaki product of Samanids' economic, cultural boom, litterateur says

Rudaki expert Neder Karimian says that the poet who is considered as the father of Persian poetry is the product of the economic and cultural boom and the political splendor Iran experienced during the Samanid dynasty over a millennium ago. Speaking during a meeting organized on Saturday at Tehran's Vahdat Hall to celebrate Rudaki's birthday, he said, "The period can be considered one of the most important periods of history, during which Iran witnessed a scientific and historical renaissance." -Tehran Times 12/27/21

Christian Prisoners In Iran Get Rare 10-Day Holiday Leave

Iran's judiciary has granted Christian prisoners 10 days' leave to spend the holidays at home with their families, in a rare move toward members of the Islamic republic's Christian minority. "The decision is to mark the New Year 2022 and the anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ," the judiciary's Mizan Online website said on December 26. 12/27/21

Iran insists on crude exports as Vienna nuclear talks resume

Iran insisted on Monday that the United States and its allies promise to allow Tehran to export its crude as negotiations on restoring the tattered nuclear deal were to resume in Vienna. The remarks by Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian signal that Iran is pressing its position ahead of the negotiations over reviving the landmark 2015 nuclear deal. The talks were adjourned earlier this month after a round marked by tensions over new demands from Tehran. -AP 12/27/21

Iran fires ballistic missiles during drills in warning to Israel

Iran's paramilitary Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has fired 16 surface-to-surface ballistic missiles at the close of five days of military drills that generals said were a warning to archenemy Israel. The official IRNA news agency on Friday reported that the names of the missiles fired during the military exercise across the country's south were Emad, Ghadr, Sejjil, Zalzal, Dezful and Zolfaghar and that their ranges vary between 350km and 2,000km. -Al Jazeera 12/27/21

The promise of wealth brings Iran and Azerbaijan together after Armenia tensions

Iran and Azerbaijan were quick to escalate their rhetoric when a heated war of words broke out between the two countries on the first anniversary of the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war. Tehran accused Baku of offering its territory to Israel to spy on Iran and of deploying Syrian mercenaries in the 44-day war against Armenia. Baku accused Tehran of "briefly invading" parts of southern Azerbaijan during the war and allying with Armenia for organised drug trafficking to Europe. -MEE 12/27/21

U.S. foreign policy hawks, with decades of disaster behind them, call for a threat to attack Iran

Seven U.S. foreign policy hawks, with decades of disaster behind them, are urging the Biden administration to threaten a military attack on Iran. The headline should read: "Arsonists Call for Setting Controlled Fires in Iran." Seven U.S. foreign policy hawks, with decades of disaster in the Mideast behind them, just published a statement urging the Biden administration to threaten a military attack on Iran. -Mondoweiss 12/23/21

See Iranian star Golshifteh Farahani in the Sixieme sens par Cartier high jewellery collection

Iranian actress, singer and musician Golshifteh Farahani embodies beauty and talent. Nothing draws out her mystique as well as the sensational Sixieme sens par Cartier high jewellery collection. -Prestige 12/23/21

National COVID-19 response assessed in Robert Koch Institute visit to Iran

During a recent visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran facilitated by the World Health Organization (WHO), a team of experts from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) of Germany met with national health authorities and professionals in order to analyse the ongoing in-country response to COVID-19 and share experiences and best practices through reviewing achievements, identifying challenges, laying down recommendations, and assessing potential areas of cooperation. -reliefweb 12/23/21

What does an Azerbaijani-Iranian detente hold for the region?

After months of serious diplomatic divisions, strains between Azerbaijan and Iran look to be easing. But what is behind this apparent detente, and what are the implications for the Caucasus and beyond? On 28 November, on the sidelines of the Economic Cooperation Organisation summit in Ashgabat, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi signed an energy cooperation deal with Turkmenistan. - Rovshan Mammadli, OC Media 12/23/21

Iranians Express Skepticism, Frustration Over Nuclear Talks

Frustration and skepticism are growing among Iranians as indirect talks between Tehran and the United States aimed at reviving a landmark nuclear deal remain mired in delays and disputes. When Iran and world powers signed the accord in 2015, it triggered euphoric scenes across the Islamic republic. Many Iranians hoped it would spell the end of years of crippling international sanctions. -RFE/RL 12/23/21

Iran: UN independent experts condemn secret execution of Kurdish prisoner

Two UN-appointed independent rights experts condemned the arbitrary execution in the strongest terms on Wednesday, of an Iranian Kurdish prisoner as a sign of "clear disregard for their obligations under international human rights law". -UN News 12/23/21

Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul freight train launched

The Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul (ITI) railway project, or ECO freight train, was inaugurated with the first freight train moving on Tuesday during a ceremony attended by Iranian and Pakistani officials. Pakistani Minister for Railways Azam Khan Swati, along with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, and Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood inaugurated the Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul freight train at Margalla railway station, in Islamabad. -Tehran Times 12/23/21

Missiles trained on Iran won't revive foundering Iran nuclear deal

As negotiations to renew the nuclear deal between Iran and the United States in Vienna grind on, commentators have begun to seriously float the idea of a military strike on Iran to prevent it from going nuclear. Leon Panetta, Michele Flournoy, Dennis Ross and others wrote that the threat of a strike would be necessary to convince Iran "it will suffer severe consequences if it stays on its current path." Regional experts Eric Brewer and Henry Rome reached the same conclusion: the threat of a strike should be kept in reserve to convince Iran to rein in its activity. -Gregory Brew, Responsible Statecraft 12/22/21

'Summer of Soul,' 'Drive My Car' make Oscars shortlist

Documentaries about Julia Child, "Black Woodstock," the pandemic and The Velvet Underground and acclaimed international films like Japan's "Drive My Car," Iran's "A Hero" and Norway's "The Worst Person in the World" just got a little closer to scoring Oscar nominations. -AP 12/22/21

What Do Iranians Think? Not Much of America, Thanks to Donald Trump

Negotiations over restoring the nuclear agreement with Iran aren't quite moribund, but the Biden administration has begun to sound a bit like its predecessor in muttering threats of military action. War with Iran would be a catastrophe, much worse than with Iraq. And sending in bombers would only delay, not halt, construction of nuclear weapons, if that became Tehran's objective. -Doug Bandow, 12/22/21

Inside the Iranian Bitcoin mining industry

ViraMiner is an Iranian company that sets up Bitcoin mining farms and maintains them. It has two offices in western Tehran, located in separate adjacent buildings. When Magazine visits, its old office is busy on a Monday afternoon. This place is now officially dedicated to its repairing services alone. -Saeed Jalili, Coin Telegraph 12/22/21

Iran Can't Afford to Delay a Deal

There should be little doubt in Tehran about the urgent necessity of restoring the nuclear agreement. To appreciate the significance of a nuclear deal revival for Iran, one need only cast a cursory glance at the grave economic, foreign-policy, security, and environmental crises plaguing the country today. Without a functioning deal that keeps U.S. sanctions lifted, if only for a few years, no Iranian government can hope to adequately respond to most-if not all-of these challenges. -Sajjad Safaei, FP 12/22/21

US Special Envoy for Iran warns of "escalating crisis" if talks fail to revive Iran nuclear deal

The time left to revive the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran is running out and raising the risk of an "escalating crisis," the United States Special Envoy for Iran, Rob Malley, told CNN's Becky Anderson on Tuesday. "At some point in the not-so-distant future, we will have to conclude that the JCPOA is no more, and we'd have to negotiate a wholly new different deal, and of course we'd go through a period of escalating crisis," Malley, who is indirectly negotiating with Iran a return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the formal name for the agreement. -MSN 12/22/21

Iran Restarts West African Auto Plant, Leaving Arms Shipment Dispute In The Past

An Iranian car company has restarted production at a plant in Senegal, west Africa, in a story of perseverance in the face of substantial political and economic challenges. The plant has had a turbulent, stop-start history that highlights the rocky path that Iranian companies sometimes have to travel when they expand abroad. -Forbes 12/22/21

US official to travel to Israel to discuss Iran nuclear programme

United States national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, will visit Israel this week for detailed discussions with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Iran's nuclear programme, a senior Biden administration official has said. The visit, which is expected to begin on Tuesday, comes as negotiations in Vienna over Iran returning to the 2015 nuclear deal have shown modest gains, but remain far from a breakthrough. -Al Jazeera 12/22/21

Iran suggests Saudis hindered effort to save ambassador from Covid

Iran has implied that its regional foe, Saudi Arabia, may have blocked efforts to save the life of its ambassador to Yemen, who contracted coronavirus there but was unable to be repatriated immediately for urgent medical treatment. The ambassador, Hasan Irlu, "was evacuated in poor condition due to delayed cooperation from certain countries", the Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson, Saeed Khatibzadeh, told state media. -Guardian 12/22/21

A Persian festival, Yalda, celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, with pomegranates, poetry and sacred rituals

As the days become shorter and the nights become longer and darker, we are reminded that indeed winter is coming. As a child I would dread this time of the year. Not only was there was less time to play outside, but there was a string of holidays that my Iranian family didn't celebrate, from Hanukkah to Christmas, which made me feel I didn't belong in our new home in Minneapolis, Minnesota. -Pardis Mahdavi, Conversation 12/21/21

Iran passed restrictions on contraception and abortion. Will that distract protesters from the economy?

While the United States is focused on the question of abortion and the future of Roe v. Wade, another conversation on women's reproductive rights is taking place across the globe in Iran. Last month, the Iranian government announced new laws further limiting abortions and restricting access to contraception. But, as in the United States, this is not the first time we have seen a government flexing its muscles by attempting to control women's bodies. -Pardis Mahdavi, Washington Post 12/21/21

Fears grow that omicron variant may soon engulf Iran

A senior Iranian health official warned that unless measures are tightened it will only be a few weeks before the new coronavirus variant, omicron, dominates the country. Hamid-Reza Jama'ati, who chairs the scientific committee of the National Coronavirus Taskforce, advised the Iranian government to reinstate strict measures for at least four weeks to curb the new variant. -Al Monitor 12/21/21

Another Ethereum Education Initiative Canceled Over Iran Sanctions Fears

Gitcoin, a crowdfunding platform, discontinued a campaign aimed at helping Farsi-speaking students learn Ethereum coding, in another sign U.S.-based cryptocurrency companies are becoming extra cautious about obeying sanctions. The grant's suspension followed blockchain startup ConsenSys' removal of 50 Iranian students from its smart-contract programming course. -Coindesk 12/21/21

Iran's Guard fires cruise missiles in military exercise

Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard on Tuesday fired cruise missiles during a major military exercise across the country's south, media reported. The semiofficial Tasnim news agency, believed to be close to the Guard, did not specify the type and range of the missiles. But it said five cruise missiles and an unspecified number of attack drones successfully hit their targets. -AP 12/21/21

Top Iranian commander: Israel can't strike us without US 'green light'

A senior Iranian commander said Monday that Israel does not have the ability to strike Iran's nuclear or military bases without US approval and boasted that any Israeli aggression will be met with a powerful response that can accurately target the infrastructure used for the attack. Gholamali Rashid, chief of the Iranian armed forces central command headquarters, made the remarks as Iran began a large military exercise. -Times of Israel 12/21/21

Saudi, Iranian FMs hold 'informal' meeting

In a major diplomatic breakthrough between Saudi Arabia and Iran, foreign ministers of both the countries met on the sidelines of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers session. "Iranian Foreign Minister Dr Amir Hussain and Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal Bin Farhan Al Saud met informally and briefly," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson said yesterday. -Nation 12/21/21

The longest night: Celebrating the Iranian festival of Yalda

The ancient Persian custom marking the winter solstice lives on in diaspora communities around the world, including in summery New Zealand. My family and friends will gather to celebrate Shab-eh Yalda (the longest night), an Iranian festival that predates Islam by more than a thousand years. It is so old it possibly also predates Zoroastrian, the Iranian religion from the 5th century BCE that continues to exist in Iran, India, and North America. In the northern hemisphere, Yalda is the last night of autumn and the start of 90 days of winter before the Iranian new year, No'Rooz. -Mahyar A. Amouzegar, The Spinoff 12/20/21

Two Former CIA Directors Call on Biden to Threaten Iran Militarily

A HAWKISH GAGGLE of former U.S. national security officials, lawmakers, and diplomats has launched a public campaign to pressure the Biden administration into militarily threatening Iran. The statement, headlined by former CIA chiefs Leon Panetta and retired Gen. David Petraeus as well as former Obama-era senior Pentagon official Michele Flournoy asserts that "it is vital to restore Iran's fear that its current nuclear path will trigger the use of force against it by the United States." -Jeremy Scahill, The Intercept 12/20/21

Varied and powerful, 2021's Iranian films entrance a growing French audience

A rich variety of Iranian films in the past year have captured the attention of French audiences eager for a glimpse inside a largely inaccessible society. The strength of these offerings, combined with the relatively low cost of their production, has led to a Golden Age of Iranian cinema in France. -France 24 12/20/21

Photos: Rud-Shoor / A miracle in the heart of desert

Few people imagine the existence of rivers and ponds in the heart of deserts. It is interesting to know that among the wonderful world of the Lut desert in Iran, there is a river called "Rud-Shoor" in Persian meaning "salt river". -Pouria Pakizeh, ISNA 12/20/21

Paralympian from Iran to have artwork exhibited in Edinburgh, Scotland

An artist born without the use of his left arm, who has competed in the Paralympics, is to have his artwork exhibited in Edinburgh. Mohammad Barrangi, from Rasht, in Iran, makes prints inspired by Persian storytelling and calligraphy. -Edinburgh News 12/20/21

Iranian motorbike racer cares for 150 crippled, stray dogs

With a passion to help animals, an Iranian motorbike racer and film actress has established a shelter for 150 handicapped stray dogs. Maryam Talaie, who is the winner of a women's motorcycle race two years ago and starred in numerous movies, rented a space in the Shahriar town, some 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) from the capital Tehran, and established a shelter for disabled, blind, or abandoned stray dogs, which she has been caring for over the past seven years. -Yeni Safak 12/17/21

From Tehran to Montreal: Composer Sheida Gharachedaghi turned 80

She established the Music Department at the Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults in Tehran. Numerous celebrated Persian musicians of today were among her pupils in the 1970s. Gharachedaghi is the first Persian woman who has composed an opera. -Pejman Akbarzadeh 12/17/21

Iranian-American Negar Salehi, MD

Negar Salehi, MD, is an interventional cardiology fellow at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. Originally from Iran, she attended medical school and trained in cardiology and interventional cardiology at Shahid Beheshti and Iran University of Medical Sciences, both in Tehran, before coming to the US to repeat her training with the goal of furthering her career. -tctMD 12/17/21

Unprecedented drought pushes Iran's southeast to brink

A new, grim estimate says Iran's already underdeveloped Sistan-Baluchistan province will have to brace not only for a worsening water crisis but for ripple effects as well, including severe economic and social repercussions. -Al Monitor 12/17/21

Playing the blame game won't resolve the nuclear impasse with Iran

The JCPOA is hanging by a thread and European diplomats appear to have focused their efforts on calling out Tehran. As negotiations to restore the JCPOA continue in Vienna, the European participants - the UK, France, and Germany (known as the E3) - issued on December 14 a stark warning before the U.N. Security Council meeting on the implementation of resolution 2231 (which enshrined the nuclear deal with Iran in 2015). -Eldar Mamedov, Responsible Statecraft 12/16/21

The US Foreign Policy Comedy

In what seems to be a talking point in the script handed to all the players, the US has accused Iran of not being serious at the reopening of the JCPOA nuclear talks in Vienna. "What we've seen in the last couple of days is that Iran right now does not seem to be serious," said Secretary of State Antony Blinken. "The Iranians have not been taking the negotiations seriously at this point," said CIA Director William Burns. -Ted Snider, 12/16/21

Iran's Rasoul Motamedi wins gold in World Weightlifting Championships

Rasoul Motamedi made his final clean and jerk attempt at 220kg to edge ahead of South Korea's Jin Yun-seong by 1kg and take the 102kg title. Motamedi, the Asian champion, finished 177-220-397 to Jin's 180-216-396, with a gap of 8kg back to third place. -Inside the Games 12/16/21

Asghar Farhadi on screening his films in Iran and a third Oscar bid with 'A Hero'

Asghar Farhadi is back in the awards race with his latest feature A Hero, Iran's entry to the Academy Awards. The film, which won the grand prix at Cannes in July, is a cautionary tale about debt, deception, family ties and the real nature of heroism. Double Oscar winner Farhadi is speaking to Screen from Los Angeles just three weeks after A Hero opened in cinemas back in Iran. The film, he reveals, is doing decent business there, reaching more than 250,000 admissions in spite of Covid-related capacity limitations in cinemas. -Screen Daily 12/16/21

The International Consensus on How to Prevent a Nuclear Iran That Is Never Discussed in the US

This bipartisan framing of the issue, deferentially accepted by establishment media, entirely excludes a third option from the discourse: a common-sense proposal which has nearly unanimous international support. So, what is this international consensus? Simple: a nuclear weapons-free-zone in the Middle East, where all nuclear materials would be under the direct control of the International Atomic Energy Agency. -Jacob Batinga, Common Dreams 12/15/21

Maryam Esfandi awarded first Grand Prize of Iran Contemporary Painting

Maryam Esfandi has been selected as the winner of the Grand Prize of Iran Contemporary Painting in the first edition. She received the prize, which has been launched by the Association of Iranian Painters, during a ceremony held at the Iranian Artists Forum on December 10. 12/15/21

PAAIA Announces the Civic Leadership Program, Significant Investment in Iranian American Youth Leadership

The Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA), a nonpartisan organization serving the interests of the Iranian American community, proudly announces its Civic Leadership Program, a significant new initiative which invests in youth leadership programs with the goal of creating a more engaged and empowered Iranian American community. -PAAIA 12/15/21

Bradwell's antiwar play "There Is No Return" on stage at Tehran theater

New Zealand dramatist Eric Bradwell's play "There Is No Return" on the aftermath of wars is being performed in the form of a stage reading at the Javanmard Hall of the Iranian Theater Forum. The story of the play is about the Forrester family, who assume they have lost their eldest son in the war... 12/15/21

Why bombing Iran (is still) a bad idea

With JCPOA talks not looking promising, Israel is pressuring Biden to turn to a military option that will only make things worse. Israeli officials in Washington on Thursday reportedly urged the United States to launch strikes against Iranian targets, in what would be an unprecedented escalation of hostilities. -Annelle Sheline and Bruce Riedel, Responsible Statecraft 12/14/21

Explainer: Iran's "Water Bankruptcy"

In mid-July 2021, a water shortage sparked protests in the southwest province of Khuzestan that then spread to other provinces over the next weeks. How has water escalated as a national issue? What are the long-term political implications? -Kaveh Madani, USIP 12/14/21

Israel Is Hell-Bent on Sabotaging US Nuclear Negotiations With Iran

One would think that Israel, which receives $3.8 billion annually from the U.S., would feel obligated not to drag the U.S. and their own people into such a disaster. But that doesn't seem to be the case. -Ariel Gold and Medea Benjamin, Common Dreams 12/13/21

Biden's efforts to appease Israel on Iran have failed on all fronts

It's not the nuclear deal that's the problem for Tel Aviv, but the very idea that Washington and Tehran would reach any detente at all. Diverging Israeli and American views on the JCPOA is nothing new. But senior officials on the Biden team thought President Obama could have handled the Israelis better by coordinating more closely with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and actually heeding some of his hawkish advice. This belief, however, is unfounded. -Trita Parsi, Responsible Statecraft 12/13/21

Photos: Jaleh Gallery Shows Shirin Azadi Art

An exhibition of artworks by Shirin Azadi is currently underway at Jaleh Gallery in Tehran. The exhibit entitled "Institutions of Existence" will run until December 13. -Honar Online 12/10/21

The Iran War That Obama Tried to Avoid Is Now Around the Corner

That conclusion seems unavoidable watching President Joe Biden fail to revive the Iran nuclear deal from which the Trump administration unilaterally withdrew in 2018. The Iranian side has demanded the removal of sanctions imposed by former President Donald Trump, as well as a guarantee that a future U.S. administration will not once again abruptly pull out of the nuclear deal, which is known as the JCPOA. -Murtaza Hussain, The Intercept 12/8/21

Top Israeli military officials say Trump's Iran deal exit was a 'mistake,' bad for Israel

The United States, its allies, and Iran have returned to negotiations this week in Vienna aimed at restoring the JCPOA. All parties are expressing pessimism regarding the current round of talks. President Joe Biden is feeling pressure from Congress and from Israel to find ways to "improve" the deal, while the new, more hardline Iranian leadership is holding firm to its demands that Washington lift all sanctions imposed since 2018 immediately and offer a guarantee that it will not renege on its commitment to the deal, as President Donald Trump did. -Mitchell Plitnick, Responsible Statecraft 12/7/21

An exploration of five millennia of Iranian art

Persian culture is in the spotlight in an exhibition at the James Simon Gallery in Berlin. The artifacts feature unexpected multicultural influences. Even though our perception of Iran is influenced by current political issues, the country's historical and cultural significance is undeniable, points out Stefan Weber, director of the Museum of Islamic Art and co-curator of the Berlin exhibition. -DW 12/6/21

Iranian Docs Honored at IDFA: Jafar Najafi's "Make Up Artist" wins the FIPRESCI Award

Iranian movies "Makeup Artist" and "Water, Wind, Dust, Bread" have been honored at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA). "Makeup Artist" by Jafar Najafi won the FIPRESCI Award. "Water, Wind, Dust, Bread" by Mehdi Zamanpur Kiasari received a special mention in the IDFA Competition for Youth Documentary. 12/3/21

'For the Sake of Peace,' Anti-War Groups Demand Biden Return to Nuclear Deal With Iran

As negotiations regarding Iran's nuclear program convened in Vienna on Monday, more than three years after the U.S. walked away from an international agreement, anti-war groups called on the Biden administration "to choose the proven path of peace" and re-enter the pact for the benefit of Iranians, Americans, and the global population. -Julia Conley, Common Dreams 11/30/21 completes 45sqm suspended villa at the heart of iranian forest

located in a forested and mountainous area of guilan, iran, the 'tiny home' by is a charming, 45sqm villa that suspends over land like a tree canopy with its trunk. despite its small size, the project features practical and suitable spaces that are ideal for weekend escapes. the economic situation in the region, however, has de-popularized the value of tiny homes over the years. in light of that, the architects behind 'tiny home' attempted to revive small-scale architecture with the lowest costs. -designboom 11/30/21

Reviving the Iran nuclear deal is the key to regional stability

Iran's new administration has concluded its lengthy internal review on how, and with what new strategies, to return to the Vienna nuclear talks, to find out practical solutions to the current impasse in reviving the 2015 agreement. The negotiations have been halted since Iran's presidential election in June 2021 but are set to resume on Monday. -Yousof Azizi, Responsible Statecraft 11/29/21

Americans Must Demand 'Maximum Peace' With Iran

In Vienna, at the end of November, the indirect talks to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action will resume. Of the original P5+1, five states remain within the nuclear deal: Iran, Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom, and Germany. Of course, the missing country is US. The JCPOA was inked during the Barack Obama administration. It is seen as a bright spot-a true accomplishment-on a foreign affairs record that was otherwise bloody, imperialist, often treasonous, and even genocidal. -Connor Freeman, Libertarian Institute 11/18/21

Sharp relief: Automatic benefits and the Iran nuclear deal

Parties to the Iran nuclear deal should focus on how to normalize their economic relationship in the long term -- Later this month, negotiators from Iran and the permanent members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany (P5+1) will resume talks intended to restore the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). -Esfandyar Batmanghelidj, Responsible Statecraft 11/15/21

Persian Leopard Project Wins The Platinum Impact Award From The International Association of Facilitators

The Persian leopard project has been chosen as the winner of the International Facilitation Impact Award (FIA), Arezoo Sane'ei, head of the Persian Leopard Research center, has said. The Persian leopard project from Iran was introduced as the winner of the first level award (Platinum) in terms of the effectiveness of executive methods in terms of quantity and quality and innovation in planning and designing actions with the appropriate benefit of the group process facilitation approach, according to Sane'ei. 11/2/21

The impact of sanctions on medical education in Iran

Iran has been targeted by waves of unilateral and multilateral economic sanctions for four decades. While in recent decades these have exempted humanitarian transactions, a well-established body of research shows that the sanctions have gone well beyond the intended economic impact on targeted industries to affect various aspects of livelihood. -Orkideh Behrouzan & Tara Sepehri Far, Johns Hopkins University 10/27/21

Revealed: Biden rejected way forward in Iran deal talks

Iran's delay in rejoining talks in Vienna to revive the landmark 2015 nuclear agreement has fueled speculation that the new Ebrahim Raisi government has lost interest in the accord. Its deepened mistrust, optimism about its China option, and confidence that it can weather American sanctions have shaped this conclusion, leaving Washington with no choice but to publicly threaten its own shift to more coercion under an undefined Plan B, the narrative goes... -Trita Parsi, Responsible Statecraft 10/21/21

Over-compliance with US sanctions hurting Iran's 'butterfly kids'

Over-compliance with United States-imposed sanctions against Iran is harming the right to health, and people with a rare skin disease are among those affected, many of them children, experts appointed by the UN Human Rights Council said on Tuesday. These patients suffer from epidermolysis bullosa (EB), a severe and life-threatening skin condition, which causes extremely painful wounds. Many are children, who are often referred to as "butterfly kids" because of their fragile skin. -United Nations 10/20/21

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last updated on Fri Dec 31 17:57:54 EST 2021